Reviews - What do customers think about The Tower?
On the meaning of origin and identity Jun 4, 2004
This is Tristan Hughes' first book, and it is a tremendous debut. Hughes weaves together engrossing stories about the lives of various individuals on the Welsh island of Anglesey (or Ynys Mon). Some of Hughes' characters were born and raised on the Island, seeming to have sprung from its very soil and rocks, while others are more recent arrivals, having been transplanted there by the hand of Fortune. Yet all are living out their lives in the shadow of "the Tower," an old stone windmill that symbolizes at once both the permanence and disintegration of the past. These stories move backwards and forwards in time, following the currents of personal histories, and exploring the deep connections between origin, landscape, language, and one's sense of self.
Certain questions run throughout: What does it mean to be from a certain place, to identify with it, and to be a part of its landscape? Are one's origins a limitation on one's self, or a precondition for selfhood, or maybe both?
Far from being a dry philosophical exercise, however, the novel is infused with humor and sadness, real emotions and real people. Hughes' writing is, by turns, elegaic and wry, pastoral and comic, but always beautifully controlled in its various voices.
This work deserves a wide readership, and signals the emergence of a promising new talent.